Politicians climb mountain, plant tree to help Irish illegals

Camlough Mountain in County Armagh

A group of leading politicians and activists in Northern Ireland spent Christmas Day climbing one of Northern Ireland's highest mountains to bring attention to the plight of Irish undocumented in the United States.

The climb of Camlough Mountain in Armagh and the planting of a tree there for undocumented Irish was led by Northern Ireland Minister Conor Murphy and local climber Terence "Banjo” Bannon who has successfully climbed Mount Everest.

Minister Murphy was outspoken in his support of the undocumented. "There are many within the Irish community throughout America who are caught in this situation. So many of the undocumented Irish have lived in the U.S. for many years and, like generations of previous Irish emigrants, they work hard, raise families and make an important contribution to the economic and social life of their communities, yet, they live in the shadows of society with fear and uncertainty as their constant companions," he told the Irish Echo newspaper .

One of the event organizers was Newry and Mourne councillor, Pat McGinn.

"The Christmas period is an especially difficult time for the undocumented Irish in America. Many people from this area have family members living and working in America who they have not see because of the restrictions on travel enforced by their undocumented status. It is imperative that the issue of the undocumented Irish in America and all the hardships that go with such status are resolved in a humane manner," he said.